I have a confession. I love books. I love, love, love them to bits. Books have this wonderful way of magically transporting me away from reality to the world in which the story is based. Plus, needless to say, books always educate and they make me a whole lot more learned.
Books have always been in print, whether they’re in a handy paperback form or a more respectable hardback edition. Recently however, readers have been introduced to a different way of reading and that is the through an e-book. An e-book is essentially a normal book published in digital form and it may have a combination of text and images which are readable on computers or electronic devices.
Since the entry of e-books into the market, there have been many discussions comparing it to traditional printed books. Looking at the sales figures which were released by the Associated American Press (AAP), e-books sales have more than doubled since the same time last year. Let’s take a look at some of the possible reasons for this.
Let’s assume that on a family trip, you were going to travel on an express bus to get to your destination. Luggage space would be a constraint. And your little girl, who loves to read, insisted on bringing 5 of her favorite Enid Blyton books. Needless to say, she had to make do with a lot fewer books than her intended number. With printed books, having to lug around more than a few titles at a time is cumbersome and space consuming. This is not the case with e-books though. All you need is your e-book reader which can just be your regular handheld and a storage card. You can easily store up to a dozen books at any time with a teeny tiny amount of space required. Therefore, it is very clear that hands down, e-books win the point over printed books for portability.
How often has it been that we lose a page we are reading because we don’t have a bookmark or had to finger through a book page by page to find a particular paragraph of interest. E-books are in digital format and therefore, many functions such as search, bookmark, digital notes and even zoom can be performed on the e-book. Readers will save a lot of time and find it much more efficient when doing research. In addition to that, some e-books even contain audio, video and animations to convey their content more effectively. These features are definitely a solid plus point for e-books.
You can’t sleep, so you want to read in bed with the lights on but your partner complains she can’t sleep because it’s too bright. Does this sound familiar? With printed books, you always need a light source to read without putting a strain on your eyes but that cannot always be readily available. With e-books, this isn’t an issue because many e-book readers have features which allow you to read when lighting is not sufficient, and it does not impose on others. You can even make the font of the text bigger if you find yourself struggling to read the original text.
As much as I love my printed books, I find them very fragile. A drop of water on a page is enough to wrinkle the book, the pages start to yellow after a while, and the most frustrating of all has to be when the binding comes apart. None of these apply to e-books since they are just simply stored on our storage devices, readily available as long as our e-book readers are functioning.
E-books can be easily downloaded from the Internet. You can save on the cost of petrol to drive to your nearest bookstore or on shipping cost required for your online bookstore to ship your book out to you. Yet another reason why readers may choose an e-book over a traditional printed book!
Indeed the advantages of e-books are very obvious and driven on by readers who are eager to try out new technology, sales of e-books will continue to rise. However, in my opinion, printed books will still be around in the market for a long time. Old habits die hard, and I believe, for many more others out there, having a physical book to hold and pages to leaf through with their fingers, is just as important as these features e-books have to offer.